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Fatal Fall at Petco Park Ruled Suicide, Homicide

Paul Steinbach
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The case of the 40-year-old woman who fell from a balcony at Petco Park in San Diego while holding her two-year-old son last fall has been ruled a suicide-homicide.

San Diego Police detectives, in consultation with the San Diego County Medical Examiner, "conducted a thorough and comprehensive investigation that included dozens of interviews, reviewing of available video footage, and collecting background information to determine what led to the deaths," according to a statement released Wednesday, as reported by ESPN.

Raquel Wilkins and her son, Denzel Browning-Wilkins, fell around 3:50 p.m. on Sept. 25 as baseball fans were heading into the stadium for a San Diego Padres game against the Atlanta Braves.

Wilkins and her son were pronounced dead at 4:11 p.m., about 20 minutes after police were alerted. The pair had fallen from a dining and concessions area on the third-level concourse to a sidewalk some six-stories below, according to police, who also said the child's father was present at the ballpark, as well.

Related: Woman, Toddler Die After Fall at Petco Park

A witness emerged days later with an account of the woman holding her son while standing on the bench of a picnic table.

"The man that was with her was standing by the railing as the woman started jumping on the bench of the table closest to the railing, holding the baby in her arms. She seemed happy — laughing," the witness said in a written statement to local NBC affiliate KSND.

According to the witness, who wished to remain anonymous, the woman then stepped back onto the bench.

"About 30 seconds or a minute later, she jumped back up and did it again, facing the man as she jumped with the baby," the witness recalled. "I remember saying, 'I can’t believe she’s doing that again,' and then she was gone... From my vantage point, looking at her back, it was almost like she rolled over the railing. I told my son, 'Oh my gosh she went over!'

"There were no screams: It was just eerily quiet. Unfortunately, we heard the sound when they hit the ground."

Related: Witness to Petco Fall: Woman Was Jumping on Bench

At the time, San Diego Police deemed the incident "suspicious" and deployed the department's homicide unit to investigate.

According to ESPN, Dan Gilleon, an attorney who represents Wilkins' parents and sisters, expressed disappointment Wednesday over the lack of information shared with the family by San Diego Police regarding the investigation and how they came to their conclusions.

Gilleon said a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Wilkins' parents is pending against Petco Park and the city of San Diego, and that he planned to file a tort claim with the city in about a week.

The Padres released a statement after authorities announced their rulings Wednesday, saying, "In light of today's statement from the San Diego Police Department, we want to reiterate our deepest sympathy and condolences to the family of those involved in this tragedy."


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